’Tis the season: Santa, Christmas parade Dec. 5

Santa Claus makes his first public arrival in Richmond for the season in the Christmas Light Parade 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 5, on Richmond Square.

The event begins in front of Richmond City Hall with the lighting of the Mayor’s Christmas tree at 5:30 p.m. Sandy Cazzell’s fifth-grade Sunrise Singers will perform prior to and after the lighting at 5:15 and 5:35 p.m. Members of the Farris Theatre’s production of “Nuncrackers” will also perform a few songs from their upcoming performance at 5:45 p.m.

A dozen individuals and groups have registered for parade floats, so far, said Sherry Smith, parade organizer. The parade begins at 6. First, second and third-place winners will be awarded certificates. (For those who want to get in on the fun, a parade application is on page 11). Parade participants line up in the City Hall parking lot around 5:30 p.m. No vehicles other than those designated for the parade will be allowed to enter the City Hall parking lot. The parade will move down College Street and loop around the courthouse square.

Jerry McCarter, the sparkplug who initiated a drive for new Christmas lights to top Richmond Square buildings, is grand marshal. McCarter almost single-handedly solicited donations to make that happen in 2012. In all, 52 businesses and individuals donated $8,694. Blue rope lights were initially purchased last year, but more permanent LED lights – ones that are identical atop the Farris Theatre – were purchased and assembled in July.  Clips to hold the lights are currently being installed by electrical crews. Area employees of KCP&L also installed switches and electrical hook-ups for the lights.

Richmond High School Marching Spartans Band – a very merry group – follows with performances of Christmas songs.

Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with some of their trusty elves, will flank the parade. Then he’ll visit with children after the parade in the first floor foyer of Ray County Courthouse. Photos with Santa will be available by Photos by Donn.

After the parade, Ray County Salvation Army will kick off its Red Kettle campaign with the Salvation Army band. Proceeds from the campaign will go toward emergency services for the county’s needy, according to Joy Story of Salvation Army. Raffle winners of the Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Extravaganza will be announced. Gift baskets, trees and wreaths, decorated by chamber members, are raffled as a fundraiser for the organization. Tickets are $1 for one chance and $5 for 6.

“There’s more of everything,” said Felicia Farabee, extravaganza organizer. “There’re lots of beautiful trees. Hopefully, lots of folks will come out and buy a chance.”

Hot chocolate and cookies will be sold at the chamber office for 50 cents each, Farabee said.

The chamber, 104 W. North Main, has extended its hours for the public to view and buy chances. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Richmond High School National Honor Society is helping man the office during these special hours, Chamber Director Natalie Lamar said.

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A letter to Santa is printed in today’s paper on page 7. Children who would like to have their letters published in the Richmond News in the Letters to Santa section can fill out the letter and drop it off at the news office’s Santa mailbox at 204 W. North Main by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4. Emailed letters should be sent to and will be accepted through Dec. 6.

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